If you had asked me a year ago, I would have said smugly that Christmas cards were a dying tradition and a total waste of paper. But 2020 has been a year of turning assumptions on their heads and cherishing the brief moments that made a terrible twelve months bearable. And so, for the first time since it was mandatory in primary school (for reputation’s sake anyway), I have spent entire evenings writing Christmas cards for my friends. In a year of hated Zoom-fatigue and stale catch ups on WhatsApp, handwriting these missives felt quaint and intimate, a chance to thank friends for being an unwavering presence in an unpredictable year and to look forward to more face-to-face socialising in the next.
A revived interest in Christmas cards then led me down a very strange internet rabbit-hole: the uncanny and somewhat grotesque world of Victorian Christmas cards. For reasons quite unknown, Victorian Christmas cards were less about snow, glitter and Santa Clause and more about bloodthirsty snowmen, killer frogs and men who were half-human, half-roast beef (yes, you read that right). It is thought that the cards functioned more as conversation starters than spreaders of festive cheer. I will leave you to make up your own minds on these macabre creations.